Monday, June 2, 2008


I'm talking about money. What is enough?

How much must one person have, to have enough? Why is it that consuming tends to make us happy? Shopping, eating, drinking - spending - I guess that's living. But this concept of what's really "enough" to satisfy a person - I think it about a lot and never come to any conclusion.

Is what I have enough? If I take a job that doubles my salary, will then that be enough? Or will I spend more, and up to the new, higher boundaries of my means? And then feel like that's not enough? I wish that I knew the answer.

I was listening to a radio show discuss the concepts of materialism, money and happiness. Sure, spending money, energy and/or time on others does make one happy. But when a person has stress about balancing rent, food, transportation and other expenses, maybe that's the edge of not having enough money to create the comfort zone discussed by National Public Radio.

On the other hand, I'll bet that even Deion and Pilar have their limits. Rich and famous people also have the feeling of not having "enough."

How does one know the difference between not really having enough money, and that one is spending beyond one's means? Both kings and beggars have been guilty of the latter.

Harris Teeter - 1391 Pennsylvania Ave, SE.

Harris Teeter opened on Capitol Hill in May, and I visited this evening. I have mixed feelings about it.

**The GOOD.
+The layout of the store is neat, with areas of aisles, instead of simple, long aisles.
+The archictecture is cool as well, and there are nice tables just outside where folks can sit and relax.
+Organic. There is a prominent focus on organic, smaller-batch when possible, sustainably grown products, and conservation. For example, in the produce section, when I reached for a plastic bag to put my sticky mangoes in, there was a big sign that urges one to re-use and recycle. I remembered that I had brought a couple plastic bags with me, so I used them.
+Ice cream selection. They have MAYFIELD ICE CREAM. This is a staple for Southerners. I saw at least 4 flavors. They also have lots of Skinny Cow and Weight Watchers options.
+Deli meats. There is a large selection of them. I requested one that had no preservatives, and the employee suggested a no-salt turkey, and it tasted as if I'd cooked it myself!
+Salsa. I saw probably 20 different kinds of salsa. Can't wait to try them all.
+Baguettes. They have a clever almost-cooked baguette. You keep it in your fridge, and when company's coming, pop it in the oven for 8 minutes. Voila! Fresh-baked baguette. Brilliant.

**The MEH.
~Cheese. Sorry, but Whole Foods kicks their butt all over town. 90% of their cheese is large-batch and lower quality.
~Seafood. I saw some sad tuna medallions that were cheaper, per pound, than catfish. How do you explain that? The fish did not look that fresh. Although I did not smell a fishy smell, which is a good sign.
~Personal care products. Selection was mighty limited for all that square footage.
~Coffee. They have Starbucks, but you'll pay $9 for it. Same price at Roland's, which is so much more convenient, at 4th and Penn, SE. They have a decent selection, but goodness it's all expensive.

**The BAD.
-Produce section. C'mon! With as large a square footage as the Teet has, there's no excuse for the tiny produce area. The Safeway, located 4 blocks away, is much better. Better yet, wait for the weekends and support local farmers at Eastern Market! Really!
-Cherries were $6 for about 1.5 cups. Ridiculous.
-One avocado: $2.69. Ludacris.
-No Dogfish Head beer. If tiny Capital Hill Liquors can carry two kinds, then the Teet can have at least one. Especially since they dedicated an acre to Woodchuck Cider. Sheesh.
-The 'hood. Regentrification takes time, and the ghetto surrounding the Gentri-oasis is rough. I was a little nervous for a few blocks, as I walked home after dark. I even veered off the sidewalk & onto the street, between 8th and 9th, to avoid a suspicious potential-perpetrator.
-Friendly-but-unhelpful staff. I witnessed the fish guy tell a customer that the hummus, located right over in the next section, was on the other side of the store. I corrected the bad directions before the poor woman set out on a quarter-mile walk to the other corner of the store.

These are my humble impressions. I'll go back there, especially if I'm craving Mayfield. I think that Safeway's better, though. My final word: ALL groceries are ridiculously expensive in DC. That's the one area where Alexandria trumps us. There, avocados are $1 apiece.